Interview with RL Rayne, Author of Maegrus: Rise of Rebels

15 Mar 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Maegrus: Rise of Rebels (Book One of the Chasmwalker Chronicles)?

What truly inspired me to write Maegrus is the growing tension of inequality in our own world; if you read through the story, you can see various parallels between the issues in Astelyn and in our own society. Racism, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, wealth/education gaps, and power struggles between families are all issues that can be found in our world and in Astelyn. I also wanted to write a story that not only included high fantasy themes but horror, romance, and mystery themes as well.

Last, I wanted to write a story revolving around a strong female lead who had already established herself in her field. Our main protagonist Sylvrana Abannes is a master bounty hunter. She knows the horrible ills of Astelyn all too well. When she is swept away into the rebellion, she is very aware of what she is leaving behind and what she has taken on. It is here where her age also comes into play.

After reading many books in the same genre, I noticed that most female protagonists are quite young. In fact, some authors use their youth as a story progression tool for most of the story. I wanted to break away from that type of character writing by developing a character who has lived and experienced the world. Sylvi is a twenty-five-year-old elf, which by elf standards (and sometimes even in our world too) is young, but it is not her age that makes her naïve it is her lack of Eltranian knowledge that sets her back. Sylvi is not a noble, she was not raised by a lord or lady and has no inkling about Eltranian politics or etiquette. By developing a character who is in her mid-twenties, I am able to tap into the feelings of a person that has some experience and a sense of self and yet, to a certain extent, still feels like a fish out of water. Her character development comes in many ways much by happenstance and trials by fire. This adds an extra dimension when it comes to her choices and thoughts throughout the book.

Moreover, I also wanted to focus on a female character who came from nothing. There’s a certain charm about an underdog beating the odds and rising by her own merits and hard work. Sylvi is an orphan abandoned in an unknown land at the age of five. She had to struggle to survive in a kingdom that dislikes elves. Even when she joins the rebellion, she is constantly met with discrimination for both her species and gender. Yet, despite all this, she rises above.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Maegrus: Rise of Rebels (Book One of the Chasmwalker Chronicles), what would they be?

This is a great question! I listened to so much music throughout my entire writing process. Let’s just say I used my Spotify premium account to its fullest capabilities. In fact, I have whole playlists dedicated to Maegrus and its upcoming second installment. However, if I were to pick themes for each of my main characters, they would be the following:

Sylvrana Abannes – “The Waiting Game” by Kalandra and “The Calling” by The Amazing Devil. Kain Pyke – “Throne” by Saint Mesa and “Woke Up a Rebel” by Reuben and the Dark. King Orrin Iandrius – “We Have it All” by Pim Stones and “Undertow” by Pain of Salvation.

The overall theme of the story would be “How Villains are Made” by Madalen Duke.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre to read is high fantasy. However, I enjoy reading classics from both the Regency and Victorian periods such as the Brontë Sisters, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley. In addition, I also enjoy the horror and suspense genre, particularly in the writing style of Edgar Allan Poe.

In terms of contemporary writers, I have enjoyed George R.R. Martin’s writing style in GOT as well as Tolkien’s world building all throughout the Hobbit and LOTR series. In addition, I have had a long time love and obsession with all of Stephen King’s books; to this day I still get goosebumps when I think of Pet Sematary.

All these authors inspired me to write my spin on fantasy and hopefully I’ve captured a modicum of each of these genres within my book.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Juggling work and writing has put a temporary halt to my usual reading habits, but one book I’m looking forward to is Stephen King’s “Holly.” This is a continuation of one his most well written and compelling characters, Holly Gibney, as she uncovers more secrets about a series of murders in a small midwestern town. I can’t wait to delve back into the world Stephen King has created and find surprises at every twist and turn that I’m sure he has set in place.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Although I enjoyed writing every scene and dialogue, there were a few scenes that I did truly enjoy. One being the moment Sylvi finally meets King Orrin; it is at this point that we see the story come full circle.

Another scene that I enjoyed writing was the revelation scene with secondary character Second Marshal Ruven Teagan when he discovers a long held secret that changes everything in Eltrana.

Lastly, I also enjoyed writing the Battle of Halsar and all the events that occur during the battle. The battle occurs over several chapters and is viewed from two opposite perspectives; the first being Sylvi’s experience on the rebel’s side and the other through Ruven’s eyes on the crown’s side. I think writing both perspectives gives the reader the ability to see both sides of the story and come to their own conclusion about who’s right or wrong.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

As I mentioned, music has been a major part of my writing ritual. Whenever I write I need to listen to some music, whether it is instrumental or lyrical, it helps me get in the zone. I usually curate whole playlists for chapter themes, character profiles, and the overall tone of the book.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” -Proverb

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I want readers to remember that although our past may influence the person we are it certainly does not define the ultimate person we choose to become. All the characters in my book are a product of their pasts, but in many cases you see these individuals push past their own viewpoints and possible prejudices.

Another aspect to remember is that not everything is black and white, life is full of gray points. While you may think you are right, there is another person who may see you as the villain and vice versa. With one story comes two or more perspectives, but one thing remains true, and that is the undeniable will of the id and super-ego, which is constantly yearning for its own validation at the potential expense of another. Therefore the book presents one major question: Can a person be both a hero and a villain, can we truly separate one from the other?


RL Rayne is the author of the new book Maegrus: Rise of Rebels (Book One of the Chasmwalker Chronicles)

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